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Thibodeau, Walton, Shaw among early candidates to be next Knicks head coach

Tom Thibodeau (USATSI)

Tom Thibodeau (USATSI)


Lately in the news we have heard a lot of talk about Matt Barnes fight with Derek Fisher and the many losses the Knicks have suffered. Neither of these looked good for Fisher, the head coach.

As a coach, you have to lead your team to victory. Being involved with drama in the news, violence, and losing games can only result in one thing – getting fired. Phil Jackson claims that although the “Matt Barnes’ incident was ‘embarrassing’ to the Knicks and Fisher, it was not the reason he was fired.”  However, I know it did not help either. The Knicks have been having another losing season this season at 23-31. They have a 40-96 record since Fisher joined the staff as the head coach.

Just days before the All-Star break, Fisher was removed and Associate Head Coach Kurt Rambis has been named the Knicks Interim Coach. The Knicks record this season is better than last season, but Knicks president Phil Jackson and owner James Dolan are not happy, as their franchise has dropped to number 12 in the Eastern Conference. They are five games behind the eight seed and have a lot of work to do to qualify for the playoffs.

Fisher was originally hired on June 10, 2014 as the 26th head coach of the Knicks franchise.  He was hand picked to coach the Knicks after they could not get Steve Kerr to take over. He was encouraged to do his best through the 2014-2015 season, prepare during the summer, and then compete for a playoff spot in the 2015-2016 season. The Knicks were sitting at .500 with a 22-22 record, but have lost the last nine of their 10 games with the win coming over the struggling Phoenix Suns.

Against non-losing teams, the Knicks are just 10-22 this season. Although there were glimpses of hope this season, especially with drafting rookie Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks still remain 19th in defense in the league. Their offense is in the top 12 in the league, but it is not enough to reach the Eastern Conference playoffs as many teams have come on strong for the East so far this year.

The big question on everyone’s mind is who will be the next head coach? Interim head coach Kurt Rambis is in his 18th year in a NBA coaching position and second interim head coach position, after leading the Minnesota Timberwolves for two seasons from 2009-2011.

Prior to coaching the Timberwolves, Rambis was a member of eight NBA Championships, all with the Los Angeles Lakers, four as a player and four as a coach or executive.

With the change, Rambis, a former Knicks draft pick (third round, 58th overall in the 1980 NBA Draft) is the fifth former Knicks player to coach the team. Rambis only won 32 games in his time as coach of the Wolves so he is most likely not the solution for the Knicks.

Jackson and Dolan are very interested in Tom Thibodeau for the position. Thibodeau was an assistant for the New York Knicks under Jeff Van Gundy and Don Chaney from 1996 to 2003. Another candidate for the position is Luke Walton after his successful time as the interim head coach with the Golden State Warriors during their winning streak. Reports indicate that Brian Shaw is also being considered a long-term candidate for the head coach position.

Although Dennis Rodman has told Phil Jackson via twitter that he is available to coach, I do not think that would ever happen or help.

Meanwhile, whoever does end up working with the Knicks has a lot of work to do to reach the eight seed of the East.

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Renee is a Staff Writer at with a focus on Temple Men's Basketball and other area sports content.
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